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Latam Brief: Guatemala protests continue (October 5,2023

  • Guatemalan protesters held a sit-in in front of the headquarters of the Public Ministry (Prosecutor’s Office) and warn that they will spend the night there until the Attorney General, Consuelo Porras, resigns for her interventions in the electoral process of the Central American country.
Citizens and members of indigenous groups demonstrate in front of the headquarters of the Public Ministry (Prosecutor’s Office) to demand the resignation of Attorney General Consuelo Porras, due to the seizing of boxes containing the tally of the electoral results of the elections held on 20 August, in Guatemala City, Guatemala, 02 October 2023. (Epa/Edwinbbercian)

Oct 5, 2023

Guatemala

  • Demonstrators have maintained at least 20 road blocks in Guatemala, in defense of president-elect Bernardo Arévalo, reports Prensa Libre. It is the fourth day of blockades demanding the resignation of attorney general Consuelo Porras, in the midst of establishment efforts to overturn Arévalo’s victory.

  • The Supreme Court yesterday ref used Arévalo’s request for a temporary injunction against Porras, prosecutor Rafael Curruchiche and Judge Fredy Orellana, who have spearheaded judicial investigations aimed at undermining the electoral results, reports Soy 502.

  • Coordinated domestic and international action will be key to ensuring Arévalo is able to take office, despite corrupt forces working against him, writes former U.S. diplomat Stephen McFarland in Americas Quarterly.

Haiti

  • The UN Security Council approval of a security mission to Haiti “validates the criminal government of Ariel Henry,” Haitian pro-democracy advocate Monique Clesca told Democracy Now, arguing that the funds pledged by the U.S. to support the mission would have been better used to support civil society. “The big problem right now is the governance system.”

  • Human rights groups have voiced concern about the Kenyan police force that will lead the mission: “Kenyan police officers have shot and beaten hundreds of protesters this year … raising concerns about what level of force will be used to combat organized criminal groups in Haiti, and whether that will put civilians in harm’s way,” reports the New York Times.

  • Kenyan lawmakers said yesterday that parliamentary approval is required before the deployment of police to the Kenya-led mission in Haiti, reports the Associated Press.

Regional Relations

  • U.S. cabinet officials are in Mexico for meetings today that will focus on drug and gun trafficking, as well as illegal migration. U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Attorney General Merrick B. Garland are particularly focused on bolstering efforts with Mexico to curtail fentanyl trafficking, reports the New York Times.

  • The U.S. Biden administration waived 26 federal laws to allow border wall construction in Texas, the administration’s first use of a sweeping executive power employed often during the Trump presidency, reports the Associated Press.

  • Progressive US lawmaker Joaquín Castro plans to file a resolution condemning some U.S. conservative politicians’ calls to invade Mexico – ostensibly to do battle with drug cartels there. (Guardian)

  • Chilean President Gabriel Boric is headed to China “with an ambitious agenda that seeks deals to make the country’s economy more efficient and help it develop beyond its traditional commodities exporter role,” reports Bloomberg.

Ecuador

  • “Ecuador seems to be disproving one of the standard assumptions of security officials and experts on the drug trade: that Latin America’s crime bosses avoid frontal assaults on the state,” write Ivan Briscoe and Glaeldys González in Foreign Affairs. “Yet because of the complicated drivers of the crisis, it is unlikely that the hardline policies being pursued by other Latin American leaders could work in Ecuador.”

  • Former Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa is convinced that his opponents “were behind the murder of Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio,” reports El País.

Colombia

  • Colombian President Gustavo Petro launched a new national drug policy on Tuesday that will look to reduce the size of coca crops, cut potential cocaine output and prevent deforestation linked to drug trafficking, while helping transition small farmers to the legal economy, reports Reuters.

  • The stakes for Petro’s “Total Peace” program “are higher than ever: they must deliver results not only on paper but in the daily lives of conflict-affected communities,” according to a new Crisis Group report. “Despite progress in reaching ceasefires and entering serious negotiations, testimonies from the public as well as available data suggest that, so far, there has been no clear-cut improvement in security in either cities or the countryside.”

  • The Colombian Attorney General’s Office has already “advanced” an investigation into allegations of possible irregularities in the Petro campaign’s financing and wants to have results before the end of the year, reports EFE.

Mexico

  • At least 111,916 people in Mexico have been “forcibly disappeared” and never found again since records began in 1962. But the true number could be higher, however, due to systemic issues with the country’s register of missing people, according to the U.N. Committee on Enforced Disappearances. (Associated Press)

  • Mexican government investigators discovered references to the July assassination of journalist Nelson Matus Peña on the dark web – an alleged conversation about the assassination of Matus in which a hit man was supposedly recruited to carry out the murder — Narco Politics.

Bolivia

  • Bolivian President Luis Arce was expelled from his own party, in the midst of a dispute with former president Evo Morales’ over the MAS presidential ticket for 2025. Vice President David Choquehuanca and dozens more legislators, officials and activists loyal to Arce, were also expelled from the party, in a move that may still be reversed, reports the Guardian.

  • Morales “seems convinced he can run and win in spite of polling showing his approval rating below 30%,” wrote James Bosworth at Latin America Risk Report last week. “This split should help the opponents of the MAS, but only if they actively work to take advantage of it.”

Argentina

  • Argentine presidential frontrunner Javier Milei has threatened to put a landmark 2020 abortion legalization law to popular referendum, and seeks to rollback the significant gains in gender rights Argentina has implemented in the past decade. “The Milei phenomenon is not just an ultra-right movement. It is a patriarchal reaction against all the advances women in Argentina have had,” leftist candidate Myriam Bregman told Reuters.

  • Ruling party candidate and Economy Minister Sergio Massa promised to implement a digital currency if he wins. But digital peso would represent the same value as the physical peso, making it unlikely to serve as a tool to combat inflation or to alter currency currently in circulation, reports Perfíl. (Via The Road to the Casa Rosada)

El Salvador

  • The 2024 presidential campaign period in El Salvador officially kicked off yesterday. President Nayib Bukele is seeking reelection — despite a constitutional prohibition — and is widely expected to win due to very high popularity. (EFE)

Haiti

  • Hundreds of Haitians marched in Port-au-Prince last week demanding decriminalization of abortion, which is the third leading cause of maternal mortality in Haiti, reports Haiti Weekly.

Peru

  • In recent years Peru “has engaged in a grass-roots effort to elevate its vast trove of archaeological sites that are often just as well preserved or culturally significant as Machu Picchu itself,” reports the New York Times.

  • A Peruvian conservative lawmaker has proposed reforming the country’s film industry in response to the alleged “lack of incentives and the high number of national and local bureaucratic barriers to filming in Peru,” which she said led to the third Paddington movie being filmed in Colombia, reports the Guardian.

Regional

  • The 2030 centennial World Cup will be in six countries on three continents: Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay — each will host a single opening match. (New York Times)

Critter Corner

  • A group of displaced women in Brazil’s Pernambuco state took up beekeeping and used the proceeds to push for a new sustainable dynamic in the community: “They combine genetic improvement techniques with ancestral knowledge to find sustainable ways of producing honey.” — Guardian Behind the Lens
The female beekeepers inspect their hives in their apiary at Ximenes settlement, Barreiros municipality, Brazil. Photograph: Gabriela Portilho
The female beekeepers inspect their hives in their apiary at Ximenes settlement, Barreiros municipality, Brazil. Photograph: Gabriela Portilho

Jordana Timerman / Latin America Daily Briefing
http://latinamericadailybriefing.blogspot

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